Our trip was a frenzy of activity for the next couple of days.
I found myself wondering if I should have been a lawyer as I reviewed my evaluation. Using DSM codes (Psychiatric diagnostic codes) and some medical terms I hadn't used since I was trying to impress my professors in Medical School I described the boy's insecurity and his minor concerns about his size in a way that it would take any laymen weeks to research enough to see through my smoke screen, which I knew no Civil Servant would do. Jay and Miguel seemed to be reading my mind, and with their exquisite use of Latin and medical jargon made bringing the boy to the states for a bone scan and blood tests sound like procedures that would require merging the Mayo Clinic and Walter Reed Hospital.
None the less it worked, and only about ten minutes after faxing the documents to Castillo he called Cindy, informing her of our success. Because we needed to finish straightening out his passport and a few other details, we decided to wait and pick up everything Monday.
We decided my sons and Junior would fly home with Carl and Mary Sunday afternoon, Jay and his mate dropping them off in Texas on their way to Virginia. Cindy, Karl and I would return on Monday, I caught unholy hell from my boys, but after reminding them how lonesome Ginger and clan were by now, and since they had their school assignments for Monday already, they could spend Monday helping Mary move to the ranch, they agreed.
I managed to talk to Jay and Ronnie, along with Edwardo and Ruben before word of Karl's placement spread. After offering several prayers that everything would work out I told the youngsters that they were going to come to America and live with 'their new dads' very soon, but I used the excuse of them living both in Virginia and Texas as justification for why they couldn't leave with Karl, which they reluctantly accepted. Getting to spend the rest of the weekend at 'Grande's' house, and in the mass nest my boys still had assembled as a bed, helped too.
All the boys were hyper Sunday afternoon as we drove to the airport, but Karl tensed as tight as a drum head, tucking himself between the other kids when our driver turned into the airport complex. He looked around a little lost when we drove past the main terminal and parked next to one of Miguel's jets.
All three new boys were somewhat awestruck as they looked over the aircraft while the crew loaded everyone's luggage, it took a lot of prompting from my boys to convince them to climb aboard for a quick tour.
"That airplane is just for their travel?" Karl finally asked as we watched the aircraft begin to taxi out. He paused a minute before almost whispering, "Are we going to go to America on that airplane?"
"No," Miguel answered. "You will be traveling in that one," he said, pointing at his other jet. I wasn't sure if I was ushering a little boy or a string puppet back to the car after we watched the jet take off a couple of minutes later.
The boys seemed to recover and I noticed them whispering to each other on the way back to Miguel's estate, but didn't play much attention. As soon as we arrived Edwardo and Ruben rushed down the hall to change into their bathing suits, but Karl seemed to hang back. I started to ask him what was on his mind, but before I could he shuffled behind his friends.
When I stepped onto the patio after changing my clothes he was in his new Speedo, but wondering around the deck instead of swimming with his friends and Cindy. He shot me an apprehensive look, but then looked away. Okay, I wonder what this is all about? I thought. Instead of jumping into the water as I had planned I sat in one of the loungers. I considered calling him to come to me, but decided to give him some space, and just flashed him a warm smile each time he glanced at me.
A couple of minutes later he stopped pacing and looked at his the back of his young friends' heads for a second or so, then shuffled his way next to my chair, staring at the deck.
"Don't you want to swim, I am going to in a few minutes," I asked after several seconds of silence. He shifted on his feet and grasp his hands together behind his back. "What's on your mind, would you like to tell me?" I tried.
"May I asked a, , ," he began, but fell silent. "If I have a question, about going to America, should I ask my solicitor or you?" he whimpered in a frightened voice.
"You may ask either of us. But do you mean you solicitor, or your new mom?" his mouth gaped open briefly and he shifted his feet again. "Come here son, neither of us bite," I said offering my arm toward him. He shuffled his feet, then stepped closer and allowed me to put my arm around his thin waist. "You may asked either of us anything you want."
He blushed and took a deep breath. "When I move to America may I, , , may I, use my old name again? May I be called Pieter again?"
It was my turn to blush. "Yes, of course you can, may. Just tell Mrs, ah Mom you would like to, I'm sure she will think it is a fantastic idea, Pieter!"
I felt more than just the muscles in his waist, but his whole body relax as he shifted a little into my arm. He started to smile, but seemed to lapse back into deep thought. "May I, , , Thank you Doctor Owens."
"May I? Please finish your question," I risk. I slid my hand up his back and gently massaged his neck when he didn't respond.
"May I, address Mrs Roberts as Mom? Maybe later, if I get to America?" I started to answer when he added, "I wish not to offender her, or Doctor Roberts."
'Wow, a seasoned diplomat stuffed into an undersized thirteen year-old body', I thought. Without thinking I picked him up by his armpits and perched him in my lap. 'Stay on his wave length', I cautioned myself as he squirmed and turned to face me with his babyish, but corporate level business face.
"Do you want to become their son?" I didn't wait for an answer. "They very much want be your parents, just like Carl Junior is, like my sons are to me. I think you are learning to trust me, please believe me when I tell you your new mom would be honored if you called her Mom. Your new dad would love to hear you say Dad to him. If either of them cry the first time you do, I promise you they are tears of joy.
"I know everything is turned upside down in your world right now, and I am very proud of you for the way you are dealing with it," I continued rubbing his narrow back with one hand and cupping his outer thigh with the other. "Tomorrow young Pieter starts his new life, with a new family in America. Wouldn't you like to start your new life with a Mom and a Dad? I know your new parents want you to be their son."
He studied my face for an instant. "Thank you Doctor Owens, I mean Doctor Pappa," he exclaimed, throwing his arms around me and pulling against me in a tight hug, burying his face into my chest.
'Oh God, thank you, thank you so much', I thought as I held him and stroked his hair. I cuddled him for several seconds before relaxing my hug, but instead of letting go he pulled more tightly against me. Welcome back to life, to being a real boy, I silently sobbed as I squeezed him a little tighter and kissed the top of his head.
Monday morning was busy, but went faster than I expected. I'm sure thanks to Castillo and Miguel's influence we were in and out of the Brazilian passport office in minutes, Pieter's new passport was already complete excepting his picture, and almost as soon as they snapped it we were out the door. I found myself wondering why we all bothered to get out of the car at the US Consulate, it took less than a minute to find Castillo's contact and get his visa stamped.
After an emotional few minutes checking Karl/Pieter out of the children's home, and assuring Edwardo and Ruben we would be back for them soon, Cindy even offered in a couple of weeks, we were off to the airport.
The youngster squirmed his way between Cindy and I for the drive to the airport, almost trying to stretch to be right next to both of us at the same time. As we exited the car Cindy tucked him under her arm. As we waited for our baggage to be loaded he began to remind me of Johnny somewhat, slipping further and further under her almost as if he was hiding in the nape of her arm. I didn't realize how much his face had paled until we started up the aircraft's stairs and Cindy guided him in front of her, but his face was as white as his hair.
I didn't recognize just how nervous the lad was until Cindy guided him to a seat and asked him to fasten his seat belt, his hands were trembling so badly he missed three or so times when he tried to stab the buckle ends together.
"I bet these seats would be more comfortable," I suggested, guiding him out of the captain's chair he was in to a pair of seats next to each other a little further back in the cabin. I sat him in one of them and fastened his safety belt for him then sat next to him. After I buckled myself in I started to reach over and put my arm around his shoulders, but he grabbed my hand with his and pulled it into his lap, tightly clutching my fingers with both hands. "It's okay Son, just relax," was the only thing I could think of to say.
As soon as the aircraft leveled off at flight altitude the flight steward announced we could release our seat belts, then walked to Pieter and I. "The Captain wanted to know if you would like to go and see the cockpit?" he has my young charge. Pieter's only response was to squeeze my fingers harder.
"Go on, it will be fun!" I suggested, tossing some extra enthusiasm in my voice. He mouthed something we couldn't understand and subtly shook his head no. "Do you want me to go with you?" I offered, only to have my fingers crushed a little harder.
I dismissed the steward with my eyes, and reached across with my free hand and released my little mummy's seat belt. With a little twisting I managed to free my fingers from his grip, and reached behind his head. "Come here Pieter, nothing is going to happen to you," I said, hoping to get him to lean against me. Instead he sprang out of his seat and jumped into my lap, wrapping his thin arms around my neck and burying his face on my chest.
"Are you afraid of flying? You've flown before, and this plane is just as safe as the big airliners," I tried, without any response. Cindy sat next to us, and we tried several more questions that we hoped might get him to tell us what was wrong, but ended up letting him hide against me as we stroked his back and neck for most of the flight.
I closed my eyes and enjoyed his cuddle, hoping it was helping him for I don't know how long until the steward interrupted my prayer informing us we were about to land and must fasten our seat belts. Pieter at first just whimpered when I told him he had to move back to his own seat. After a couple more tries he looked up at me. "If they arrest me where will they take me?" he sobbed. "Please, may I say goodbye to Junior and Mark, and Ronnie and everyone before they, , ," he faded off without finishing his request.
"No one is going to arrest you, I promise," Cindy answered before I could. She kissed the back of his head as I kissed the top of it. "The only place anyone is going to take you is home. To my home, and your new home," she added.
"Please, please calm down, you have to be very brave, just until we are in the car and driving home," I told him. "I know you have done this before, but please be calm, you can do it."
'Here we go!' 'I told myself as we walked toward the Customs substation several minutes after we landed. ‘This is not how I wanted to do this!’ I thought as I looked down at my young patient's red face and bloodshot eyes. His shoulders and neck muscles were so tense I could see them flex as he walked between Cindy and I, but he seemed to be maintaining as we presented our passports and the flight line crew rolled our baggage in.
The agent scanned Cindy and my passports briefly and sat them on the counter, but kept Pieter's, flipping between the front and back pages several times. "I see both the passport and visa were issued today, please excuse me for a minute," he said, turning to a nearby computer. A few seconds later a large German Shepherd dog and its handler came into the room and the dog began sniffing our baggage.
"Chill Son, you can handle it," I whispered to our young charge. "Relax, you've done this before," I risked, hoping to calm him. His only reaction was to push against my side.
"Thank you for your patience. Mrs Roberts and Doctor Owens may I see another form of identification? You are both Texas residents, may I see your driver's licences?" the agent asked. 'Oh shit!' I thought as I noticed how he kept glancing behind him at his computer screen. He scanned our documents another time then looked up at us, but jerked back at the computer when it beeped.
"Neither of you are this child's parent, may I ask why you are bringing him into our country?" he asked. "Why are you sponsoring his visa, Mrs Roberts?"
"As I am sure you can see, he is here on a Medical visa. Mrs Roberts is his Guardian At Litem and I am one of his attending Physicians, I'm sure that is in your records," I answered.
'No, not now, please don't loose it now Karl, Pieter!' I thought when the youngster let out a sob. A second later he let out a harsh cough. "Pieter, cover your mouth when you cough, it is only polite!" Cindy admonished her new son.
"I'm sorry Ma'am!" the youngster whimpered. "Can I have some water, please"" he added in his beautifully angelic voice.
"Could he have a glass of water?" I asked.
The agent glanced back at his computer screen, then at the dog team. Just as the agent opened his mouth to answer the youngster hacked another loud cough and gasp for breath.
"Of course sir." He turned and took a step or so before turning back when Pieter bellowed another frighteningly harsh cough. "Is the child okay, should we summon EMS or anything?" he asked.
I glanced toward the boy. Hoping he was just fringing a panic attack I answered, "I think he will be okay for now, but I hope this isn't going to take too much longer."
The agent disappeared into an adjoining room and quickly returned with Pieter's water. "I apologize for the delay," he said pushing our passports across the counter to us. "We have a cart waiting outside to take you to your car sir."
About a minute later I draped my arm around the free side of the youngster, pushing my hand between his narrow shoulder and Cindy's grasp as stood next to my big cat. "Are you alright Son, are you getting sick or anything? You scared me back there!" I asked.
'Oh God, what have I done, what did I get us into?' I wondered when he responded with a soft giggle and an impish grin.
Pieter was as in awe of my Jaguar as I drove to Cindy's home, he was priceless as I watched him through the rear view mirror touch, almost fondling its comfortable interior. He seemed equally impressed as Cindy showed him around his new home and he met their huge Labrador Retriever, that only had to stretch her neck to lick his face but he seemed undaunted, scratching her neck like she was an old friend. He gave us a few questioningly doubtful looks as he walked around what she announced as his bedroom, but was the baby-faced diplomat I had come to know him to be.
I hadn't noticed how often he had looked outside through the windows as we toured the house until he looked out his bedroom window and scanned their back yard then asked, "Where are your horses, may I be allowed to meet them?"
"The horses, our horses are at Doctor Pop's ranch, they live there," Cindy responded. "Would you like to see them?" His answer was immediate, he bolted out of his bedroom toward the front door. "I think we are done here!" she tittered as we followed behind him. "I think he might prefer to ride with you," she laughed as we stepped outside and saw him tugging at my car door, trying to get it open.
My ranch was a beautiful sight after being away for a long weekend. I found myself wondering if a Hollywood screenwriter had prepared it for Pieter's arrival as my whitewashed fence came into sight. Zeus and two other horses were standing at the corner of my property looking down the road, clearly expecting my big cat. The youngster gasped loudly when they began running along the fence next to my car.
We were waiting for the gate to open when he strained forward against his seat belt and peered over the dashboard. "Look, look, are they cowboys?" he exclaimed, pointing toward several mounted riders a hundred yards away or so.
I was wondering if I should tell hm the truth, that they were wild Indians from the tribe he was about to join, when they broke into a gallop charging their steeds toward the house. "They are, they really are!" he hooted. "Are they on a cow drive? Do you know them? May I meet them?"
"I think they could be Bandidos! Actually I know they are," I couldn't resist teasing as I started up my driveway.
He stiffened and his mouth dropped open as he turned and stared at me. "Is it very far to your home? Is it safe?" I was afraid I had gone overboard in my teasing when he shuttered and looked out the back window. "Will Mrs Ro, , , Mrs Mom be safe, perhaps we should go back! Where is your gun? You do not have it!" he cried.
"It's too late now," I answered as I stopped in front of the house. "Here they come!" I said, pointing at the pasture fence and the gaggle of kids hopping off their horses over it.
He gasped again and turned white as a ghost as he turned to look, then tried to dive under the dashboard. His lower jaw bounced off his chin and his eyes bugged so wide I thought the were going to pop out of his head as he looked back up. "But that is, , ," he exclaimed.
"See, I told you they were bandits!" I chuckled. He gave me a dirty look, then started giggling.
An instant later both car door were jerked open, and Junior and Ronnie all but pulled Pieter out of his seat while Johnny and Mark greeted me. "Pop, I missed you I thought you was never gonna come back!" Johnny cried as he pushed into a hug. I started to tell him we were only separated overnight but I was clear he wasn't listening, and Mark cheering and hugging me would have drowned any response anyway.
My other two rushed their new friend to my side of the car and pushed their way into a six way group hug. 'I wonder who they are showing off for?' I asked myself as I noticed all of my boys and Junior were wearing their tight fitting levis and western belts. I didn't have time to ask, as they started bugging me, wanting to take Pieter to meet the horses.
Cindy parked next to us as I agreed, cautioning them I didn't want him to ride any of them until I was with him. We were breaking our group hug when she stepped around her Suburban next to us. "Hi guys!" she bubbled.
"Hi Mom," Junior hooted, then took off down the hill with his new brother in tow.
"Well, at least I know where I rate!" she sighed.
"Oh, he'll remember you, come meal time," I teased.
After I changed clothes I checked in with my office, then Cindy and I spent a couple of minutes touring Mary's new apartment. When we walked down to the pasture I wasn't at all surprised to find both Cindy's horse and Zeus had been saddled, and Zeus standing next to the gate staring impatiently at me.
I scratched the big stallion's snout for a minute as I watched Pieter, stuck to Junior's side, gazing up at the boys horses. As soon as he saw us he cautiously backed away from the animals then darted toward us still wide eyed. When he was a couple of yards from us he slowed as his mouth dropped open. I started to wonder what had stopped him when Zeus stuck his long nose into my butt and nudged me, sending me stumbling several steps to keep my balance.
When I turned around his stare had turned into a rather nasty glare. "Okay boy, we'll go riding in just a minute," I told him extending my arm toward him. He trotted over to me and stopped with his saddle's stirrup less then a foot from me. He twisted his long neck around and gave me a look that very clearly said 'WELL?'
"Okay, okay" I told him. "Let me talk to Pieter for a second!" earned me a snort and even nastier glare. "He hasn't been ridden in several days, you stay with Mom and I'll be right back," I said toward our new guest. "I'm sure he's going to bolt, make sure Pieter understands," I told Cindy in a soft voice.
I released my hair from its ponytail and climbed onto Zeus' saddle as the lad shuffled to his new mother. Zeus shifted his hips and back and let out a soft neigh almost like he was trying on a comfortable coat or something. All I had to do was lean forward in the saddle slightly to launch him out toward the pasture like he was leaving the gates at the Kentucky Derby.
'Dream on, fools', I thought when I saw my boys racing their mounts to join us. I'm not sure who was having a better time, Zeus or I, but I knew I wasn't in charge as the big Arabian galloped at full tilt for around the pasture for probably ten minutes. "You always have a surprise!" I told him the second or third time he slowed to a walk while the mounted members of his harem caught up with us, then bolted away leaving them in our dust.
Several minutes later he seemed to have had his cache of being ridden replenished and didn't object when I back toward the pasture gate, and Cindy and her new son.
"Hi kiddo, are you ready to go riding?" I asked as I dismounted.
"Not on him! Is he a racing horse he is very fast!" he exclaimed. "They are so, large, I don't think I should try to, sir," he added as the other boys rode up and climbed off their mounts.
"They're cool, they won't hurt you," Junior chimed in. He and Johnny surrounded their miniature friend, pulling him away from Cindy toward their mounts.
He tried to pull away from his new brothers when Ginger pushed her nose under Johnny's arm a second or so later but they held him from getting away. Johnny and his cinnamon filly exchanged a couple of glances before Ginger let out a soft snort. "Ginger said you can ride her, she promised to be good and ever'thing!" he announced. Ginger pushed her head under her master's arm further and looked around him toward Pieter. "But just today," Johnny added.
"Come on, try it, please?" I asked. "I'll hold her reins, she won't hurt you." He didn't resist when I picked him up and perched him on the little horse.
Ginger was priceless as I, then Johnny led her on short walks with her frightened cargo, reminding me of a pony at a petting zoo. She plodded around as if she was carrying a dozen eggs on her back even when the other boys horses trotted and ran near her. Ten or so minutes later Pieter risk riding on his own, accepting Ginger's reins and guiding her (well he thought he was!) to go with the other boys horses. I shuddered at the thought, but allowed Johnny to ride Zeus when Pieter seemed to risk riding further and further from Cindy. It worked better than I could have ever imagined, Pieter gawked and stared in awe as he watched his new friend controlling the big stallion with one hand.
After Cindy went riding with them I watched for a couple of minutes before I snapped and rushed to the house for my video camera, only to find Mary standing on the patio shooting with it. "I hope you don't mind, but it was too wonderful, I had to capture it," she blushed.
Between us we burned a full tape and both of my memory sticks before our subjects led their steeds to the barn. I'm no sure who was more disappointed, Junior or Pieter when Cindy announced it was time to go home, that they had a busy day tomorrow, but they reluctantly followed her toward her Suburban.
Pieter started to climb into the back seat, but turned and crashed against me wrapping his arms around my waist. "Thank you Doctor, please may I visit again? I will be very good sir, I promise I will."
"Of course you may," I answered. "Actually, you have to come back out here Wednesday, day after tomorrow. For your lessons, but I'll let Mom explain that," I told him as I stuffed him into Cindy's back seat. "I'll see you soon, I promise!" I said as I closed his door. God, I hope so! I silently added.
'Good luck', I silently added as I watched Cindy drive away. For his first week in the US and with his new family the little guy had a busy schedule, Carl had scheduled appointments with their Pediatrician, Dentist and Cornerstone Academy already. Appointments to test his sight, hearing and on and on were pending.
Johnny seemed quieter than usual during supper, even ignoring my questioning glances and gestures to come talk to me. I somewhat trapped him as his brothers started upstairs to shower and get ready to go back to school tomorrow. He cast a longing look at the stairs when I pulled him against my chest and guided him to my recliner, but didn't resist.
"I was very proud of you, well you and Ginger this afternoon," I began. I picked him up and perched him in my lap before continuing. "Thank you so much for letting him ride Ginger, I know she is special to you."
"Well but, he was all scared and stuff!" he answered with an angelically high voice.
"Somewhat like you were when you moved here?" I asked. "When all the horses were so big and frightening? When moving to a new home, and getting a new Dad was so scary?" He flinched then pulled my arm around his thin waist as an answer. "I need you to do me a favor, you and Ginger to help me. Can you do that?"
Not getting a response I continued, "Will you, and Ginger share with Pieter how frightened you felt when you first came here? And how you feel now? And ask Ginger to talk to the other horses? She might be able to pick one he would feel comfortable riding." 'Am I really asking this, of a damn horse?' I asked myself.
He stared out the patio door for several seconds. "Venus kinda likes him, she thinks he's cute," he said. He was silent for another second or so before he added, "Can he ride Venus, she told Ginger she wants to, and that he's scared and stuff!"
'Wow!' I thought. 'Maybe I should check into a nutfarm!' "Great, go for it!" I answered. "But, let's get a kid in the tub, someone has lessons tomorrow!"
He climbed out of my lap and started upstairs but turned back. "Ah, can we sleep in your bed tonight, please Pop?"
"Only if you're a freshly scrubbed kid!" I teased.
After I watched him rush upstairs I wasn't very surprise to find a pair of brothers and a black nosed puppy in my bed as I went to take my shower.
Johnny was already in bed, and all of them seemed asleep when I came back into my bedroom. 'Yes, I'm home', we're home, I grinned as I looked at the small tufts of hair and noses protruding from under the blankets. I enjoy a couple of minutes watching them, soaking in their innocence and happiness, before kissing each of them and climbing under the covers.
Only a second or so after I lay down I felt a little body push against my side, and a facebow gently lean into my chest. As I reached under the covers to rub who I was sure was Mark, Johnny pushed against his brother and slid his face a couple of inches from mine. Ronnie almost immediately snuggled against Johnny and wrapped his long lanky arm across all of us, all without any of them seeming to wake up. 'Yes, I'm home', I silently repeated as I closed my eyes.
Although it took all day Tuesday and part of Wednesday to get caught up, my practice was running more smoothly than I had expected. Wednesday afternoon I was able to complete what I hoped was the final draft of my evaluation and plan of service for Edwardo and Ruben. After reviewing Pieter's records I decided I wanted to have my staff do a fresh work up on him. Before leaving for my afternoon rounds I contacted Cindy, and arranged for her to meet her for lunch Friday, then take him with me back to the practice.
'You are a sneaky bastard', I told myself as I gave my big cat her legs for her sprint to the ranch. Once Pieter realized he would be going home with me as soon as he finished his evaluation I knew we would have a very cooperative patient.
The boys were still working with Stewart when I arrived home. After touching base with Mary and enjoying a couple of swallows of my well earned afternoon beer, I changed into a pair of swimming trunks and headed for the pool. 'Damn, Stewart is good', I thought as I watched young Pieter trotting Venus in the middle of the other boys and horses, probably twenty yards or so from their instructor. I rushed back inside and grabbed my camcorder, and spent ten minutes or so shooting before getting into the pool. Yeah! I said to my favorite water jet as I watched him break his steed into a gallop, keeping up with other boys.
'I take it Cindy has been shopping!' I snickered a few minutes later when the boys darted up the hill and I noticed Pieter's new Levi jeans hugging his legs and thighs like they were made of stretch lycria. 'That belt and buckle has to weigh almost as much as he does! Urban Cowboy eat your heart out!' I snickered as I climbed out of the pool.
"Hi Dad!" Johnny exclaimed a minute or so later as he pushed against me. "Karl, , , ah Pieter did really good, he was neat!" he declared. ""And Venus really likes him, she told Ginger she does! She said can she be his horse, maybe?"
"I saw how well you rode, and on a full sized, a big horse and I was impressed!" I answered toward Pieter. His face turned even redder than Johnny's hair. "Do you like Venus?" His complexion flushed so crimson his scalp glowed red under his beautiful hair.
"Come on guys! Mary's got a huge pie, and ice cream, come on!" Ronnie hollered from the patio door.
Signs that I was about to become the target of another of the boys plots began appearing as the kids filtered back onto the patio a few minutes later. Johnny rushed over and gave me a hug, while Ronnie checked my beer can. A split second later Junior appeared next to me with a fresh beer, then stood next to me like an upscale wine steward. Mark and Pieter were huddled nearby almost as if Mark was standing by to instruct the neophyte con man he was training.
I could almost feel the energy waves radiate between Ronnie and Junior after I thanked them for my beer. "Ah, Pop, well, we had a really neat idea, sir," Junior began. Johnny pushed more tightly into his snuggle as Ronnie turned on his sad puppy eyes and flashed an innocent silver smile that almost blinded me. "We were wondering if, maybe, well if Piet, , , if my little brother can spend the night too. Like I do, sir." Junior asked.
"Mary said she made enough supper for everyone," Ronnie injected.
"And he can learn how to take care of Doctor Jay's horses and stuff!" Johnny offered.
Although Cindy and I knew it was coming and had already agreed he would, and Carl had given me a change of clothes for the boy this morning after hospital rounds, I played the game. "He is welcome to, if his mom doesn't mind." I replied. Ronnie magically produced our cordless phone from behind his back and offered it to me. "I don't think it's my place to ask. Pieter, why don't you call your mom and ask her."
Pieter's eyes bugged as he pushed against Mark. Junior reached for the phone but I stopped him. "Call Mom and ask, do you know your phone number yet?" I said, offering the phone toward him. "Please come here," I told the cowering little statue.
He took a deep breath and shuffled along as Mark ushered him to my chair. After he stood motionless next to me for a second I scooped him up, perched him on my lap and dialed the phone for him. "Just say, Hi Mom, can I spend the night at Doctor Pop's house?" I instructed.
He glanced around at his peers, I guess for support, then reluctantly accepted the instrument. It took a couple of stuttering attempts but he managed to stammer our his request. A couple of 'Yes Ma'am's and finally an 'I promise, Ma'am' later he sat the phone down and looked around a little lost.
"What did she say?" I asked.
"She made me promise to, , , to have fun!" he almost whispered. His face portrayed his
"Well, you better get started!" I said. "Go look in my study and you will find a backpack, I bet you might find your swim trunks in it!" I told him, pushing him off my lap.
All the boys rushed toward the patio door, but Junior then Ronnie turned back and gave me questioning looks. They exchanged glances then rushed back to me, both of them pushing into a tight hug with me. "You knew, didn't you?" Junior giggled. "Thanks Pop, I love you," he added before I could answer.
Our little guest was a perfect angel all evening. They swam for a couple of hours until supper, and he was right in the middle of everything as the boys loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the table. When the other boys sat down to do their homework he asked if he may 'borrow' some paper, that he wanted to write some letters to the friends he had left behind at the children's home in Brazil.
After I explained what email was, and how I could send his letters electronically to the home, I spent a couple of minutes loading the Portugese keyboard on my laptop and taught him how to use Word. Although it was the first time he had been on a computer soon he was typing his letters, his tiny ten year-old's index fingers pecking at the keyboard as fast as a Woodpecker attacks a tree.
When he announced his letters were ready and if I could send them, he gave me a both lost and disbelieving look when I asked him if he wanted to send some pictures. Johnny was studying on his computer in my study so I told Pieter to bring my laptop into the family room so I could show him. I moved from my recliner to the couch intending to have him sit next to me, but soon had a lapful of boy. He squirmed a little to get comfortable on top of my thighs then set my computer on top of his legs and leaned back against my chest.
'Fuck, I have to edit video and do screencaps?' I thought. 'All I want to do is cuddle!' Somehow I managed to prep several shots of him and the other boys riding and a thirty second or so video of him on Venus while enjoying his soft, warm body radiating his blissful mood molded against me. I ended up with a couch full of kids surrounding me as the other boys finished their studies and joined us. I almost broke my heart an hour or so later when I had to send them to bathe and get ready for bed, but I got a kiss from each one, even Pieter, before they went upstairs.
I had to take a minute to lean against the doorframe and sigh when I went to tuck in what I expected would be Junior, Ronnie and Mark into bed in their room. All the boys had somehow managed to fit into Ronnie's bed. Ronnie was leaning against Junior, with Pieter tucked into both of their snuggle, only the top of their heads showing out of the blankets. Buddy was snuggled against our new guest on the other side, and a lump in the blanket I was sure was Mark was just below him. Johnny was tightly cuddled at the other end of what seemed almost like a single being occupying the bed.
I had to move from one side of the bed to the other to kiss everyone but Mark's foreheads. I got a tail wag from Buddy and a soft sigh from each of them until I kissed Pieter. "Thank you Pappa," he whispered. "I am sorry, Doctor Pappa, sir."
"Thank you Son," I whispered before I kissed him again. Thank you God, thanks so much, I thought as I sat on Mark's empty bed and studied my little angels. I started several times to get up and go to bed, but lay down on the mattress and watched the soft light from their window reflect off their beauty until I fell asleep.
I don't remember how, but I woke up in my bed to a very wet tongue licking my face. I was trying to focus and get the four legged fur ball out of my face when I heard Junior's voice. "Hi sir, can we go swimming?" After a second I managed to look up, my bedroom was full of kids, all of their thin bodies clad only in their briefs.
As soon as I agreed they darted across my room and out the patio door, Buddy abandoning me and racing behind his boys. "But, take off your, , ," 'Life is back to normal!' I decided as I heard a series of splashes and muttered "Headgears," knowing it was too late. 'Screw it, they haven't rusted up yet', I thought as I rushed to relieve my bladder and join them.
Our new guest was as precious as his platinum hair suggested after we ate breakfast and everyone got dressed. He was going to ride into town with me and have Cindy meet us at the hospital. He gave each of the boys a warm hug and thank you before he wrapped his arms around Mary's plump waist. "Thank you Ma'am, please may I come back?"
She said something in Spanish I didn't understand to him, then showed her agility as she picked him up and carried him out to my car. After plopping him in the passenger seat and fastening his seat belt for him she said something more that made him giggle and blush. He looked away for a split second then threw his arms around her neck and planted a kiss on her cheek.
He was very quiet for several minutes as I drove toward town, only whining one syllable answers to my several tries to get him to talk. I had all but given up, and the car's cabin was silent for a minute or so before he asked, "Are you allowed to go swimming every morning? And every afternoon, and ride the horses every day here?"
"Yes, we swim almost every morning and ride almost every day," I answered. "But remember it's not all fun, the boys are going to school now, like you will soon."
"Will I be allowed to go to school? I would like to, if I may," he asked.
'Oops!' I thought. "Yes, you are going to start school, probably Monday, as soon was we get you, as soon as you finish visiting all the Doctors and everything." Realizing that did not work, I tried, "You are going to attend Cornerstone Academy, like your brother and Ronnie and Mark do, as soon as you are ready." 'Come on fool, you spent years in residency learning how to bull shit the right way', I cautioned myself.
"Schools in America are a little different than schools in Brazil, or even Europe. We will know more this weekend, but I would like you to go to school with Johnny, at my ranch with Mary as your teacher for a few weeks. Soon both of you will attend Cornerstone like your brother Junior, , , like your other brothers do. Would you like to do that?"
"With Miss Mary! And Johnny and Venus and, , ," he hooted. "I mean yes sir." He stared out the window for several seconds. "I will be allowed to your ranch for this?"
I was about to reassure him he would be spending a lot of time at the ranch, and with his new two and four legged friends, when he added, "Doctor Pappa, I am very scared." He took in a deep breath and sobbed it out as his eyes began to tear. "I know I am in a, imagination, a dream I think, but, , , I don't want it to end! Please Doctor?"
'Wow', I thought. 'I'm evaluating his stability? Maybe he should be evaluating mine!' I reached over and pinched his bony thigh just above his knee. "Was that a dream?" I asked. Without realizing my Jaguar was trotting at a little over eighty miles an hour I leaned over and kissed his forehead. "Welcome to America, where dreams really do come true! Wait until you see what your future holds, son."
To Be Continued…, or am I beating it to death?
Notes from the Author:
Note re: the Gay Youth Yahoo club: I have received several inquires regarding my endorsement of this club, No, I am not a moderator or administrator of this group. I do support it and my friend Miguel who is a co-owner, as they are running a wholesome, clean group that does support, not exploit, gay teens. Much more importantly, I support the youngsters that it is helping. Thanks for lending your support.